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Two mountaineers from Bengal on Kanchenjunga expedition feared dead

Two mountaineers from Bengal on Kanchenjunga expedition feared dead

Kolkata: Two mountaineers from the state on Kanchenjunga expedition — Kuntal Karar and Biplab Baidya — are believed to be dead as the rescue operation to bring them back to the base camp proved futile.

The Sherpa team, which was on the rescue job of the two injured Indian climbers Biplab and Kuntal, has returned to Camp-4 of Kanchenjunga, as reported from the base camp. The herculean rescue operation, performed by Sherpa Nirmal Purja and his team on Wednesday, yielded no positive outcome.

Unesh Zirpe, the leader of the expedition team Giripremi from Base Camp, said: "There is almost no hope that any further rescue operation is possible to bring Biplab and Kuntal back to Camp-4 at this stage."

The handling agency has also made it clear that there is almost no possibility that any further rescue effort can save these two lives.

Ramesh Ray, another climber from the same team, was rescued by the Sherpas and brought to Camp-4 around 10 pm on Wednesday. His health is on the verge of critical deterioration and he was suffering from altitude sickness leading to HAPE (high altitude pulmonary edema) and snow blindness. Climber Rudraprasad Halder, who was at Camp-4 on Thursday morning, was also suffering from frostbite. Later in the day, both of them were evacuated by rescue helicopter and brought at the base camp.

"They are undergoing treatment at the base camp but arrangements are being made to hospitalise them as quick as possible considering their deteriorating health condition," said Ujjal Roy, a member of the advisory committee of the state Youth Affairs department.

Biplab, Kuntal, Ramesh, Rudraprasad and Sk Sahabuddin were part of a five-member team from Bengal, who had embarked on the Kanchenjunga expedition.

Four of them — Rudraprasad Halder, Ramesh Ray, Sk Sahabuddin and Biplab Baidya — had reportedly reached the summit point on Wednesday morning.

However, Biplab and Kuntal fell sick while descending and sought help from an altitude above 8000m. It was believed that Kuntal was suffering from HAPE. One team member (possibly Rudraprasad) sent an SOS to their family around 3:12 pm on Wednesday via GPS device asking for urgent help. The device read an elevation of 8271m.

Nirmal Purja with two other Sherpas — Gesman Tamang and Mingma David Sherpa — responded promptly to the request assuring a rescue operation from an altitude of 8200m. The sherpas were on their way down from the summit of Kanchenjunga.

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